For the first time in 120 years, the Vanderbilts are completely out, and archivists have moved in.

Meghan Overdeep
April 26, 2018
Wolfgang Kaehler/Getty Images

On March 30th, Paul and Gladys Szápáry unceremoniously vacated their family’s third-floor apartment of the Breakers, the iconic Gilded Age mansion constructed by their great-grandfather, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, in 1893. (His younger brother, George Washington Vanderbilt II, built his own private paradise, The Biltmore, around the same time in North Carolina.)

Like generations of Vanderbilts before them, the Szápárys spent summers in the Newport, Rhode Island "cottage" since birth. After the Preservation Society of Newport County purchased the home for $366,475 in 1972, however, the heirs were relegated to the mansion’s upper floor—which boasts eight bedrooms and views of the ocean. The rest of the 70-room estate was opened to the public.

Relations between the family and the Preservation Society appeared good until this past January, when a preservation architect and an engineer concluded that the mansion’s ventilation, electrical, and plumbing systems were “dangerously outdated for residential use.” For the first time in 120 years, the Vanderbilts departed their ancestral home.

WATCH: Biltmore Estate Owner, William A.V. Cecil, Dead at 89

Despite a statement from the Preservation Society insisting that it was an amicable split, rumors swirled that the “decommissioning” of the family’s third-floor apartment was actually in retaliation for their opposition to a proposed Welcome Center on the grounds.

Speculation and palace intrigue aside, a former Preservation Society employee, who, according to Town & Country worked on the Breakers archives for the past seven years, recently posted a series of photos from the contested living space on Instagram, offering the public a first glimpse at what the eight-room apartment looks like today.

Scroll down for a rare look at the former family apartment, courtesy of archivist Jason Bouchard.

The Breakers - Third Floor Newport RI Bedroom No. 16; one time bedroom of Cornelius Vanderbilt III from 1895-96. Neily married Grace Wilson in 1896, which caused a bit of a rift between he and his father. Neily went on to engineer over 30 patents aimed at enhancing locomotives. He was also the engineering master behind August Belmont Jr.’s Interborough Transit Co., NYC’s first subways. He was a brigadier general during WWI and was involved in the National Guard until his retirement in 1935. He died aboard his yacht, anchored off Miami Harbor, in March 1942. The wall fabrics were originally dark royal blue, as seen in the second photo - some blue remains having been hidden under wall portraits. The Szapary’s used this room as a guest room, and have maintained the furnishings- all gifted to the Preservation Society of Newport by members of their family. The intricate fabric border and gimp have been tediously maintained by the Szapary’s, fringe waxed and fabric dusted. Like other rooms with fabric, occasional leaks have caused the underlying stucco to crumble. A distressing issue came up this last winter 2017-18, as heat was restricted to the third floor and the cold caused icing to form inside the windows. The condensation inside froze on the glass, creating puddles inside every room with balcony doors once warmed to room temperature. The issue has since been rectified, but was a surprise for sure. The area rug, retailed by W&J Sloane and acquired by Ogden Codman for The Breakers in 1895, is original to the room and had been kept in protective storage in the cedar closet for many years. #thebreakersarchives @thebreakersarchives

A post shared by Jason Bouchard (@1w57th) on

For more photos and to follow along with Bouchard’s archival efforts, check out his other Instagram account, here.